Five years ago, a Methodist and a Mormon who were very good friends decided they wanted to do something special to help the Blackfoot community. They came to the Rev. Gay Jeffries.
Thus was born the Community Dinner Table. Every Tuesday night during the winter months, 12 different faith communities and friends take turns hosting a dinner. It’s held at the Methodist church, but most churches in town take a turn.
“We have the facility here,” said Jeffries. “Others have the manpower. We’ve been working together, and it’s made such a difference in this community.”
It started out small, but on Tuesday, more than 300 people were fed a hot, wholesome dinner.
You don’t have to be physically hungry. Some people are emotionally hungry, looking for some company. All are welcome. And this dinner has built incredible bridges between groups of people from different religions who never really knew each other before. There are some simple rules.
“We have a strict no evangelizing, no proselytizing no trying to convert one another. We have so many more things in common than the few pieces of theology we have that are different from each other. It’s such a relief to sit down with our neighbors and talk about what we have in common and to serve, like Jesus said, to serve the hungry,” said Jeffries.
She has been the cheerleader. She’s been the one that encourages. And that’s why we celebrate her as a great neighbor.
Since Community Dinner Table, several other community services have sprouted, proving it only takes a spark to get a fire going:
1. Community Garden
2. Christmas Food Boxes in association with Idaho Food Bank and SouthEastern Idaho Community Action Agency (SEICAA)
3. Food Corner at each Tuesday night. A dinner in association with Idaho Food Bank and local grocers
4. Monthly mobile pantry food distribution at Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds in association with Idaho Food Bank
5. New: Weekly food pantry at Bingham County Senior Center in association with the senior center and Idaho Food Bank
If you have a Great Neighbor, let us know.